June 19, 2017
Contact: Kameron Korte
Phone Number: (858) 616-4100
Three Defendants Indicted In One Of The Nation’s Largest-Ever Fentanyl Seizures
SAN DIEGO - A long-term investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has led to one of the nation’s largest seizures of the deadly synthetic opiate fentanyl and a federal indictment against three alleged traffickers.
“The opioid crisis the country is facing right now makes this indictment all the more important”, says DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman. “44.14 kilograms of fentanyl represents more than 44 million fraudulent pills on the street which could be fatal for users. These dealers are trafficking in death and DEA will continue to hunt them down.”
According to the indictment unsealed today, Jonathan Ibarra, Hector Fernando Garcia and Anna Baker are charged with possession of 44.14 kilograms of fentanyl with the intent to distribute. Most of the fentanyl was seized from a house in Lemon Grove.
According to a search warrant affidavit, the defendants discussed the transportation of a then-unidentified controlled substance. On November 30, 2016, Ibarra received instructions to have a female courier, later identified as Baker, transport the narcotics in three separate trips on consecutive days.
Based on this information, agents requested a traffic stop of Baker’s rented vehicle and seized about 15 kilograms of a substance later determined to be fentanyl. Law enforcement officers then obtained a search warrant for Baker’s residence, where they found about 30 additional kilograms of the same substance. According to the DEA, the combined amount - 44.14 kilograms - represents the largest fentanyl seizure sent to a DEA lab nationwide.
Drug traffickers use the pure fentanyl powder to increase the potency of heroin or to manufacture counterfeit opioid painkillers that resemble oxycodone. Due to fentanyl’s extreme potency - up to 50 times stronger than heroin - deaths from fentanyl-laced heroin and counterfeit pills are epidemic in the United States. Just 2 milligrams is enough to kill an adult, and less depending on the tolerance of the user.